Edgefield County, SC

County Name: 
Edgefield
State: 
South Carolina

Total population (1850): 39,262

Enslaved population (1850): 22,725

Percent slave: 58%

Extant nineteenth-century inquests: 524

Date range: 1829-1899

Percentage of violent crimes in county sample: 39% (202/524)

The small, rural district of Edgefield, South Carolina was the Deadwood of its day, amassing a reputation for murder and mayhem unique in the nation. Forget the gangs of New York, the toughs in tailored suits strutting about Edgefield's Court House Square were up for almost anything. Take this typical exchange between Thomas Cherry and Charles Cobb.

Cherry: "You Damn puppy."

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "Do you mean to call me a Damn puppy?"

Cobb: "What are you?"

Cherry: "If you call me a Puppy, I will ag you in the face."

Cobb: "You are nothing else."

With that Cherry stabbed Cobb through the face with an umbrella.

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards."

"If we over in Edgefield insult each other, there is generally a fight or a funeral afterwards," noted Ben Tillman, one of the ten men of the district to serve the state as governor. Like Tillman, circuit judge Thomas Mackey took an almost perverse pride in the region's reputation. "I am going to hold court in Edgefield," he told a friend, "and I expect a somewhat exciting term, as the fall shooting is about to start."

Like most reputations, Edgefield's was at once deserved and exaggerated. At 39 percent, Edgefield County does have the highest proportion of violent crimes in the CSI:D sample. At 35 percent, Greenville County is not that far behind. More important, Edgefield's reputation for affairs of honor masks the mountain of dishonorable violence revealed by the morgue. Men spoiling for a fight on the street are rarely much different at home. In June 1893, Bill Gasten was sitting near his wood pile when his wife emerged from the house to draw some water from the well. Something she said set him off and he grabbed up a walking stick, hit her with it, then threw her down and began choking her. Emerging from the kitchen, her sister grabbed up the stick and told Bill to "let his wife alone." She had just started back to the kitchen when Bill cracked her head with a hoe.

Edgefield County, SC Inquests

Displaying 201 - 250 of 524
Name Deceased Description Date Inquest Location Death Type Death Methodsort descending
William Lundy August 28, 1846 at house of John Rainsford Accident
Henry Ethredge June 2, 1899 at the plantation of P.B. Mayson Accident
Apling negro man April 5, 1849 in the woods in said district near the Lexington line on a branch of McGier Creek Homicide
infant child infant child August 5, 1878 at the residence of H J Wright Homicide
Pompy Robinson November 1, 1898 at Norris Place Natural Causes
Lizzy Rardon September 28, 1879 at Clansey Holloways plantation Accident
William H Maharey May 25, 1863 at Haslin Factory on the Procelian Manufacturing Company Accident
Ned Dozier September 27, 1893 at MJ Holsteins Homicide
Unknown August 30, 1866 at Fosity[?] Creek ford Unknown
W. W. Miller Sr. white man July 10, 1891 at J M. Mays place Accident
Lizza colered woman October 7, 1866 at the house of Thomas S. Miller Natural Causes
Ed Glover July 8, 1882 at Poore House Accident
Cesar Negro, negro boy July 7, 1843 at the house of Elijah Watson Homicide
John David Twiggs September 15, 1864 in Hamburg Homicide
John H. Anderson March 21, 1891 at Tom Anderson place Homicide
Alexander P. Kennard February 16, 1847 in the District Natural Causes
William Prince July 9, 1851 at the house of John W Garrett Accident
Daniel slave, boy April 28, 1859 at L. Halls Tisery[?] Suicide
infant child infant child December 9, 1891 at a colored cemetary Accident
Susan Medlock April 7, 1894 at Johnston Homicide
James Mitchell February 18, 1879 at L D Laudrums Natural Causes
infant child infant child June 14, 1891 at Kenny Grave Yard Accident
Emaline Jackson August 27, 1894 at Dr Childs Plantation Natural Causes
Solomon Ellenberg February 18, 1859 near the Residence of G.M. Ouzts[?] Suicide
Sis Bonham child February 18, 1894 at M.B. Davenports Accident
Jack Taylor April 11, 1892 at the house of Hal[?] Miles Natural Causes
Adam Barker August 10, 1879 at the Residence of Adam Barker Decd Suicide
William White December 10, 1898 at Savanah River Accident
Riller three negro children October 2, 1846 at the house of Philip Brogden Homicide
Willis Asbell December 7, 1877 at Ridge Spring Homicide
A. P. Shultz January 9, 1850 at or near Solomon Clickleys[?] Unknown
Dick male slave July 13, 1859 at Ted Scurrys residence Accident
Robert J. Butler September 15, 1864 at Hamburg Homicide
John slave September 27, 1863 at the residence of Johnson A Bland Accident
Esther Jeter April 17, 1893 at Huiets x Roads Accident
Will Collens October 20, 1894 at Gaines SC Homicide
Pete slave October 31, 1864 at Liberty hill Unknown
Tandy Holmes September 21, 1894 at or on Dr. W.C. Prescotts Plantation Homicide
James Thomas colored July 20, 1869 at Liberty Hill County Homicide
Harry negro boy September 9, 1858 at the residence of the Rev. J. L. Brooks Accident
Whit Terry October 19, 1894 J.K. Corleys Place Homicide
Isaac Grimer December 10, 1868 at Jacobs Branch on the Spaun Church road Accident
Mary Slave May 17, 1847 at the Plantation of A. Perrin Homicide
James Reynolds December 20, 1860 at the residence of James Reynolds Homicide
Larrence Valentine December 28, 1893 at Mt[?] Willing Accident
Howard Gale June 13, 1879 at Jacksons Holinns[?] Mill Accident
Charity Johnson March 11, 1847 at the Residence of Charity Johnson, late deceased Natural Causes
infant infant January 22, 1894 at Oak Gilchrist House Natural Causes
James Booth August 23, 1878 at E. C. House Homicide
Everett Hook July 18, 1891 at the saw Mill of M J Hook Accident

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